Monday, July 21, 2008

Mamma Mia: Good for Laughs, Chest Hair

So Mamma Mia!...was an unlikely choice for a movie I'd go to the theatre to watch. Not just because it's a bag of sap and some seriously over-the-top acting (although that should be my prime reason) but because it's a musical. Musicals and Madiha don't go together, not even when they're oscar-nominated, artistically gory ones like Sweeney Todd. But I gave in to the secret, appropriately-ashamed Abba lover sitting inside me. Who knew? (I didn't, for one)

Ironically, I hadn't heard more than three or four of Abba's songs before watching the movie with both of my sisters in law this Sunday. I'd only heard a few: Thank You for the Music, Mamma Mia!, and I fail to remember the third one. But I always hummed along them whenever I heard them. In all of the bubblegum pop I've had the fortune to hear in my life, their brand was definitely the hummy-ist (Most hummable? Hummy-ist sounds better). And then I saw that gynormous advertisement in Times Square a few weeks ago and felt the silliest and strongest urge to go watch. Some advertising.

Anyhoo, so I saw the movie, not the advertised broadway musical because I love Meryl Streep more. It's silly as hell, contrived as a twenty year old musical usually will be, and plus it's poorly directed. But listen, those songs...they make you want to get up on your seat and dance. Or at least sing along under your breath and shake a little if you're in a movie theatre (recommended). And a couple of hours of mindless laughter, watching Collin Firth pull another man into his arms and Pierce Brosnan tear off his shirt (and then dance in a chest-open spandex suit) is worth the ten bucks.

At all other times though, you find yourself marveling at the nerve of the film-makers casting a male lead in a musical who cannot sing to save his life. Which also made me think of the following points:

1. Why can't the prime difference between a movie musical and a broadway musical be having the option of casting non-singing actors solely based on their acting/dancing/box-office value? And giving a job to a lesser known voice-over singer. After all, Broadway actors won't carry a Hollywood movie, Hollywood stars will. Why be a stickler for a rule that can ruin the musical aspect of your musical? There's too much to lose!

2. Is Pierce Brosnan the only hot 55 year old in Hollywood with the full chest of hair defining the Abba-era? (Maybe, which explains why he was cast despite his pain inducing singing)

Oh whatever. PASSED, for guilty pleasures are the most fun:)

P.S. Warning: The writer's perception of the musical might be seriously flawed, since she was laughing throughout the movie, even through the mother-daughter weepie scenes. Serious Abba fans and moms with daughters might not want to use this review as a fair valuation of the movie.